ITF Press Release, June 12, 2018
An appeal panel appointed under the Code of Sports-related Arbitration of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”) has dismissed the appeal filed by Sara Errani, upheld the appeal filed by NADO Italia and, in doing so, partially upheld the decision imposed on Ms. Errani by an Independent Tribunal on 3 August 2017.
Ms. Errani, a 31-year-old player from Italy, provided an out-of-competition urine sample on 16 February 2017. That sample was sent to the WADA-accredited laboratory in Montreal, Canada for analysis, and was found to contain letrozole, which is a prohibited substance included under section S4 (Hormone and Metabolic Modulators) of the 2017 WADA Prohibited List, and therefore is also prohibited under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (“Programme”).
An Independent Tribunal appointed under Article 8.1.1 of the Programme found that Ms. Errani bore no significant fault or negligence for the violation and imposed on her a period of ineligibility of two months, beginning on 3 August and so ending at midnight on 2 October 2017. Her results between 16 February 2017 (the date of sample collection) and 7 June 2017 (and the date of her next test, which was negative) were disqualified, with resulting forfeiture of the ranking points and prize money that she won at events during that period. Both Ms. Errani and NADO Italia exercised their rights to appeal to the CAS: NADO Italia appealed the length of the sanction and the disqualification of results; Ms. Errani appealed the disqualification of results only.
Following a hearing on 9 November 2017, the CAS panel found that Ms. Errani had demonstrated (but only just) the source of the letrozole found in her sample and that her fault lay in the upper end of the ‘light’ range. Accordingly, the CAS panel determined that the decision of the Independent Tribunal (1) to impose a period of ineligibility of two months should be set aside and replaced with one of ten months; and (2) to disqualify Ms. Errani’s results should remain undisturbed. Ms. Errani will be eligible to return to competition on 8 February 2019.
Sara Errani posted on twitter the following statement:
— Sara Errani (@SaraErrani) 11. Juni 2018